Lebanon, again a model for the Middle East

10/11/2014 CHINA - APEC - USA
APEC: China offers deals and maritime peace to oust the US from Asia
On the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Beijing, Xi Jinping reaches out to Japan, scraps tariffs on South Korea trade and pledges peace and prosperity to Vietnam. Meanwhile Obama is on his way to promote a 12-nation deal that excludes China to bolster the US position in the region.
End occupation to avoid a new intifada
Settler provocations on the Esplanade of the Mosques are causing more violence, riots, and summary killings by police. Israel's security remains a constant feature as continued Palestinian frustration makes the situation explosive. Sympathy for Hamas and the Islamic state is growing among Palestinians and Israeli Arabs. The international community continues to neglect the issue. Pope Francis: "We need bridges, not walls!"
09/11/2014 VATICAN
Pope John Paul II, a lead role in bringing down the Berlin Wall
At the Angelus, Pope Francis hopes a culture of encounter may spread, "capable of bringing down all walls," so that there is no more persecution or killings because of one’s faith. “Where there's a wall there is closure of hearts. We need bridges, not walls”. Thanksgiving Day in Italy, solidarity with the world of agriculture, to "cultivate the land in a sustainable and inclusive way". Dedication of the Lateran Basilica, an opportunity to rediscover the Church as our "spiritual home” and Christians capable of giving witness to the faith in love. “We are Christian not because of what we say, but what we do".
Gaza: Hamas creates a "people's army" to respond to Israeli attacks
The first section will count 2,500 recruits. All young people aged 20 years and older can register. After the announcement, new clashes between police and Palestinians in the Chouafat refugee camp. Meanwhile, Fatah accuses Hamas of bomb attacks on the homes of its leaders. Heads of Churches in Jerusalem: "No to amendments to the Statute of the Holy Places."
08/11/2014 VATICAN
Pope to adult scouts: lead the way in the family, in creation, in the cities
To the representatives of Masci (Italian Catholic Movement of Adult Scouts), Pope Francis asks them to enhance their efforts on the streets, but also the "ecclesial dimension of" the scouting experience. Families founded in the Sacraments; Respect for Creation as "disciples of Christ"; commitment to the cities being "faithful to Christ and faithful to humanity”.
07/11/2014 NEPAL
Regional forum in Nepal could just become a "religious showcase" for political leaders
Kathmandu is preparing to host the 18th Meeting of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation. Regional heads of state and government confirmed their presence, but their schedules focus on visiting religious holy sites. Experts are worried that this will devalue the summit.
06/11/2014 MYANMAR
Autopsy reveals signs of torture on the body of journalist killed by the Burmese army
Aung Kyaw Naing, Aung San Suu Kyi’s former bodyguard, died as a result of abuse by the military. His body bears obvious signs of a broken jaw, a caved-in skull and swelling on the torso indicating broken ribs and tow puncture wounds. No signs of gunshot wounds. Growing tensions between the media and the military.
06/11/2014 INDONESIA
Indonesian bishops' new Church "models" for mission and ministry
The Indonesian Bishops' Conference is underway until 13 November with all 37 diocesan bishops present. Following Pope Francis' lead, the prelates are focusing on sensitive social issues. A Muslim scholar, who praises the country's multicultural nature, is also present.
06/11/2014 CHINA
For Chinese authorities, Zhou Yongkang graft probe taking longer but charges will be laid
Gathering evidence into former security tsar is taking longer because of painstaking approach, China's deputy justice minister says.
06/11/2014 VATICAN
Pope: "New perspectives open up" in relations between Catholics and Evangelicals
Receiving a delegation from the World Evangelical Alliance Francis points out that "misunderstandings" have been clarified and "ways to overcome prejudices" shown, resulting in "relations of brotherhood and cooperation" being established in countries around the world.
05/11/2014 PAKISTAN - ISLAM
Bishop of Islamabad: Couple burned alive, barbaric act shrouded by a guilty silence
Shahzad Masih, 28, and his wife, Shama, 25, had four children and the woman was pregnant. Accusation made by Shahzad’s employer; at least 400 people attacked, shot and burned the bodies of the young couple. Christian activists: yet another abuse of the blasphemy laws.
05/11/2014 CHINA
China, the Party admits: More and more Communist officials are Christian or Buddhist
The admission comes in the form of threats: the secretary of the Communist Party in Tibet warns of "severe punishment" for those who follow the Dalai Lama or even support him. Meanwhile, a disciplinary delegation returns from Zhejiang, where there is an ongoing campaign of demolition of Christian churches and crosses, and report the presence of "many Party members who follow the Christian religion."
05/11/2014 PAKISTAN - ISLAM
Bishop of Islamabad: Couple burned alive, barbaric act shrouded by a guilty silence
Shahzad Masih, 28, and his wife, Shama, 25, had four children and the woman was pregnant. Accusation made by Shahzad’s employer; at least 400 people attacked, shot and burned the bodies of the young couple. Christian activists: yet another abuse of the blasphemy laws.
05/11/2014 INDIA
Indian Jesuits confront the crisis of vocations with 21 new priests
The new clergymen will be ordained in 2015, the Year of Consecrated Life. Fr Errol Fernandes SJ led the novices in a retreat. The Asian Church also "faces many challenges, but with its selflessness and other-centredness, it has a message to deliver to the world."
05/11/2014 SAUDIA ARABIA
More than 90 "extremists" tweets posted per minute in Saudi Arabia
The figure emerges from a statistic published by the Ministry for Islamic Affairs. Over 500 accounts that promoted extremist organizations closed. A a religious television network also shut down.
04/11/2014 CHINA
China, strikes and industrial action double in one year
According to the China Labour Bulletin, the only free trade union in the Chinese world based in Hong Kong, demonstrations in favor of better working conditions increased by 100% compared to 2013. Merit of visibility offered by social networks and greater dissatisfaction with the way of life imposed on workers.
04/11/2014 KOREA
Korea, a joint dictionary to bring Pyongyang and Seoul closer together
After 25 years of work the first joint dictionary that unifies the idioms and technical terms of the two nations is in the final stages. As a result of six decades of separation, today the same word means "lady" in the South and "slaves of feudal society" in the North. A group of South Korean linguists is in Pyongyang to help in the revision of the text.
04/11/2014 PALESTINE
Among the ruins of Gaza, sculptures show the horror of war
Made of fiberglass and covered with clay, the sculptures, some with splashed with blood-red paint, show a barefoot woman, her features barely discernible, carrying a naked child. Next to her is an old man leaning on a stick, a dishevelled boy in his arms.
Israel reopens Gaza crossings but gives green light to new homes in East Jerusalem
The Erez and Kerem Shalom border crossings reopen after being closed following a rocket attack from the Gaza Strip. Washington is "deeply concerned" with the plan to build 500 new homes in Ramat Shlomo settlement. Knesset adopts a law that makes prisoner release and swap very difficult.
Jerusalem: as the Temple Mount is reopened (with restrictions), tension remains high
Men under 50 still banned from the area. For Abbas, Israel's recent closure is tantamount to a "declaration of war". The funeral of Palestinian suspected of wounding Rabbi Glick takes place without incident. The latter remains hospitalised in intensive care.
31/10/2014 VATICAN
Pope: The true Christian lives of prayer and mission. It's like breathing!
Francis meets with members of the Catholic Fraternity of Charismatic Covenant Communities and Fellowships, and urges them to unity in diversity "which means recognizing and accepting with joy the different gifts that the Holy Spirit gives to each one and putting them all in the service of the Church. It is listening, accepting differences, having the freedom to think differently and expressing it! With all due respect to the other who is my brother". A strong call to "remember the ecumenical nature" of the charismatic movement: "For persecutors, we are one! Ecumenism of the blood."
30/10/2014 TUNISIA
Secularist party wins Tunisia elections
The Nidaa Tounes party wins 85 seats, defeating Ennahda, the main Islamist party. Tunisia was the first country in the Middle East to experience the Arab Spring and the only one to go through a real democratic transition.
30/10/2014 THAILAND - ITALY
For Thai Buddhists, Francis, the "missionary" pope, embodies the spirit of Assisi, Fr Sala says
Fr Valerio Sala has been a PIME priest in the Asian country for the past five years. He describes how he came to his vocation and how he developed his missionary zeal after a brief stint in Africa. He explains how globalisation and relativism have deeply penetrated Thai culture, as well as the challenges they represent. For him, Christ is the basis for a true "social and moral change."
29/10/2014 NEPAL - CHINA - TIBET
Nepalese government: No more refugees from Tibet
In response to pressure from the Chinese government, Kathmandu has decided to no longer provide the necessary documents to Tibetan refugees to reach India, the residence of the Dalai Lama and his government-in-exile. The outrage of civil society: "You have sold out to Beijing."